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"Child Abandoned in China, Then Domesticated in France? What Am I for Them?!"

Simeng Wang

Based on a field survey carried out over a period of three years in the region of Paris and involving young people of Chinese descent who are seeing a psychiatrist in the private or public sector, the present article is focussed on the relationship between these young people and their parents, and more especially on the phenomenon of “inverted parenting,” showing how these migrant children help their parents enjoy the various resources acquired in or related to their host country. Using her analyses of the two-stage migration process—since the gap between the migration(s) of the parents and that of the child may exceed 10 years—the author first highlights three aspects of inverted parenting: cultural, economic, and administrative, together with their underlying logic. Subsequently, she takes into consideration the reactions of the young people involved with this inversion. Having first described the way they feel about being “required” to make themselves available to their parents, she examines the strategies they adopt to circumvent these inverted parenting responsibilities through their outside world (school, work, care settings, associations, etc.) where they hope they may access new possibilities.